Football player asks, where's the spirit?
Published: Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 17:11
College football is a chance for a school to unite around its team and build spirit and camaraderie between its students, faculty and athletes. Most collegiate football schools get this, where students camp outside ticket offices or fans drive hours to cheer on their team.
Most schools thrive in this, except SMU. After having a dream come true with the invitation to walk-on to the football team in fall 2010, I believed I'd be able to be a part of watching SMU rise from the ashes and become a powerhouse. After back to back bowl trips and a 5-1 season record including a win over archrival TCU, I thought surely the days of empty stadiums and an uncaring student body were over. Boy was I wrong.
The UCF game was a testament to how stubborn and pathetic our student body is, and how our school has completely failed to capture the attention of a city.
It wasn't halfway through the second quarter when students began to whine about the heat and leave. I'm sorry you guys had to sit in your air conditioned homes during the summer while my teammates and I sweated in three months of 100 degree heat preparing for the season. I'm sorry a 38-17 whooping of the defending conference champs wasn't thrilling enough for you.
Our coaches and my teammates have spent countless hours in the film room and meetings getting ready (not to mention bringing national attention and thousands of new applicants each year) and this is how our community thanks us?
Don't be surprised now when I say it's more fun for us to play on the ROAD than it is at home. At least the opposing team's fans show up, and the game experience resembles what I dreamed about rather than the pee-wee football experience we have here where it seems only the players' parents are in the stands.
Granted, thanks must be given to the loyal student body that remains the whole game and actually knows what "Beans" is and the season ticket holder who had to endure years of embarrassment.
But those true fans only go three rows deep in the student section and are spread throughout the rest of the stadium. Part of the reason no one stays/comes in the first place is because the game experience is pitiful compared to what it could be.
We as players thrive off the energy of the crowd; it provides us with that extra boost to perform at our highest level. Hey, sound guy, turn the music up because I shouldn't be able to hear my friend next to me. Hey, announcer, let me know when it's third down so I can scream my head off.
I mean if TCU can set up an impressive billboard 100 feet from our stadium, I feel SMU can do better. We as a football team set the goal at the beginning of the season of being the BEST. Not average or good. The best. I suggest the student body and school do the same.
Stephen Nelson is a sophomore majoring in business with a minor in Spanish. He can be reached for comment at email@example.com